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Embattled dreams : California in war and peace, 1940-1950 /
Kevin Starr.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.
description
xiv, 386 p. : ill.
ISBN
0195124375 (acid-free paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
author
series author
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2002.
isbn
0195124375 (acid-free paper)
catalogue key
4674446
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Kevin Starr is the State Librarian of California. He also holds the rank of University Professor in the Department of History at the University of Southern California
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2002-04-15:
The sixth volume in Starr's notable cultural history of California examines the decade that changed the largely agricultural state into a powerful national player in politics, defense, manufacturing and, of course, entertainment. State Librarian of California and University of Southern California history professor Starr opens with a broad-brush overview of the state on the brink of the U.S. entry into WWII. The chapters that follow are almost encyclopedic, detailing the curtailment of Japanese-American civil rights; California's wartime role in the defense industry; the career and political impact of Earl Warren; the rising number of minorities; the hunt for communists; and the growing cultural and economic power of Hollywood. All this happened amid the pursuit of the California dream. Starr writes, "the war had given rise to an intensified expectation of a better life." Dramatic profiles go some way toward bringing the history to life, but Starr doesn't have a particular flair for novelistic narrative, and in any case the crowded volume doesn't give him much room to stretch his storytelling muscles. Likewise, given the scope of the book, some subjects are addressed only briefly. Annotated lists of movies, for example, are meant to give a sense of the country's mood, but the effort feels hurried. While readers should not expect sustained analysis of any single subject, this ambitious book gives a broad, comprehensive overview of how the decade changed California ("Something vibrant, explosive, inchoate even, had entered the California experiment"), and how California in turn shaped the postwar destiny of the nation. 38 b&w photos not seen by PW. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 2003-01-01:
For Eleanor Roosevelt the 1940s were "no ordinary time"; this book agrees that the decade was extraordinary not only for California, but for the nation. Starr (Univ. of Southern California and California state librarian) omits little in this meticulous description of practically every facet of life in the Golden State. As a social and cultural historian, Starr links local events to national patterns; his description of the racial/ethnic war that white California waged against the Japanese at the turn of the previous century is not only superb, but offers the continuity necessary to fully understand the forces of racism and fear that culminated in Franklin Roosevelt's infamous Executive Order 9102, "calling for the roundup and incarceration of all Japanese, both citizens and non-citizens, on the Pacific Coast." This is all revealed through "the role of women, the emergence of minorities, the steady rise in population, [and] a growing sense of California as a significant instance of the American experiment...." Social and cultural historians will find this a delightful read; those interested in following some of Starr's themes into the next decade should consult David Halberstam's The Fifties (1993). All levels and collections. P. D. Travis Texas Woman's University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"An exciting picture of how California changed during World War II, yet remained irrepressibly the same. Kevin Starr has captured the whole cockeyed chiaroscuro, with a novelist's eye for the telling detail, and a historian's grasp of the sweep of grand events. From the Hollywood Canteen tothe Black Dahlia mystery, from the plight of the Okies and the Japanese to the gargantuan military buildup and the Golden State's bone-deep frivolity, he's got it all down. I was there, and I know. I read the book with absorbed admiration." --Herman Wouk, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The CaineMutiny and The Winds of War
"An exciting picture of how California changed during World War II, yetremained irrepressibly the same. Kevin Starr has captured the whole cockeyedchiaroscuro, with a novelist's eye for the telling detail, and a historian'sgrasp of the sweep of grand events. From the Hollywood Canteen to the BlackDahlia mystery, from the plight of the Okies and the Japanese to the gargantuanmilitary buildup and the Golden State's bone-deep frivolity, he's got it alldown. I was there, and I know. I read the book with absorbed admiration."--Herman Wouk, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Caine Mutiny and The Windsof War
"California, in all its mythical splendor and promise, is in fact America stripped naked of myth. That is why Kevin Starr, who knows and recites California's epic better than anyone, must be judged one of America's finest living historians. Read all six of his volumes and lose yourdreams...in dreams." --Walter A. McDougall, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age
"California, in all its mythical splendor and promise, is in fact Americastripped naked of myth. That is why Kevin Starr, who knows and recitesCalifornia's epic better than anyone, must be judged one of America's finestliving historians. Read all six of his volumes and lose your dreams...indreams." --Walter A. McDougall, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Heavens andthe Earth: A Political History of the Space Age
"Exploring that enigmatic blend of dreams and hardscrabble reality has been Kevin Starr's lifework in his brilliant and epic social and cultural history of the state."--Eric Schine, Business Week
"Exploring that enigmatic blend of dreams and hardscrabble reality hasbeen Kevin Starr's lifework in his brilliant and epic social and culturalhistory of the state."--Eric Schine, Business Week
"For ambition, narrative drive and breadth of research across the disciplines from culture through politics and demography to agronomy and water management, no recent project of American historical writing comes close to Kevin Starr's mammoth, multi-volume 'Americans and the CaliforniaDream'.... It is a magnificent accomplishment.... Starr's project all along has been at least as concerned with the California of the imagination as with the California of fact and has assumed that realities do begin in dreams... Starr is at least as good a narrator of nightmares as he is of thebeauties, successes or accomplishments of the California experience."--David Rieff, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"For ambition, narrative drive and breadth of research across thedisciplines from culture through politics and demography to agronomy and watermanagement, no recent project of American historical writing comes close toKevin Starr's mammoth, multi-volume 'Americans and the California Dream'.... Itis a magnificent accomplishment.... Starr's project all along has been at leastas concerned with the California of the imagination as with the California offact and has assumed that realities do begin in dreams... Starr is at least asgood a narrator of nightmares as he is of the beauties, successes oraccomplishments of the California experience."--David Rieff, Los Angeles TimesBook Review
"For ambition, narrative drive and breadth of research across the disciplines from culture through politics and demography to agronomy and water management, no recent project of American historical writing comes close to Kevin Starr's mammoth, multi-volume 'Americans and the California Dream'.... It is a magnificent accomplishment.... Starr's project all along has been at least as concerned with the California of the imagination as with the California of fact and has assumed that realities do begin in dreams... Starr is at least as good a narrator of nightmares as he is of the beauties, successes or accomplishments of the California experience."--David Rieff, Los Angeles Times Book Review "The scope of Starr's scholarship is breathtaking; this is a social, economic, political, and cultural history that covers such disparate subjects as popular San Francisco restaurants, shipbuilding, changes in domestic architecture, Raymond Chandler's fiction, the roots of anti-Japanese sentiment, baseball's Pacific Coast League, and the rise of Richard Nixon."--Ben Schwarz, Atlantic Monthly "This is ebullient, nuanced, interdisciplinary history of the grandest kind, drawing parallels and distinctions where perhaps no one ever thought to see them before. Starr's a born storyteller as well, mining a rich seam of anecdotal coal to animate the complex, enigmatic figures California history bustles with.... Starr is an undervalued and irreplaceable public treasure."--David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle "Exploring that enigmatic blend of dreams and hardscrabble reality has been Kevin Starr's lifework in his brilliant and epic social and cultural history of the state."--Eric Schine, Business Week "An exciting picture of how California changed during World War II, yet remained irrepressibly the same. Kevin Starr has captured the whole cockeyed chiaroscuro, with a novelist's eye for the telling detail, and a historian's grasp of the sweep of grand events. From the Hollywood Canteen to the Black Dahlia mystery, from the plight of the Okies and the Japanese to the gargantuan military buildup and the Golden State's bone-deep frivolity, he's got it all down. I was there, and I know. I read the book with absorbed admiration." --Herman Wouk, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Caine Mutiny and The Winds of War
"Kevin Starr is an absolutely wonderful writer, passionate, learned, born, as they said of Samuel Johnson, to wrestle with whole libraries. In Embattled Dreams, he has surpassed himself. This is his best book yet." --Max Byrd, author and Professor of English, UC Davis
"Kevin Starr is an absolutely wonderful writer, passionate, learned, born,as they said of Samuel Johnson, to wrestle with whole libraries. In EmbattledDreams, he has surpassed himself. This is his best book yet." --Max Byrd,author and Professor of English, UC Davis
"No one knows the shadows and light of the California Dream better than Kevin Starr. World war and political repression brought darkness to the dream, but Starr reminds us of what makes California compelling, as the home of American heartbreak and American promise." --Virginia Scharff,Director, Center for the Southwest, University of New Mexico
"No one knows the shadows and light of the California Dream better thanKevin Starr. World war and political repression brought darkness to the dream,but Starr reminds us of what makes California compelling, as the home ofAmerican heartbreak and American promise." --Virginia Scharff, Director, Centerfor the Southwest, University of New Mexico
"The 1940s, that decade of wars both hot and cold, changed California more than any other era in history. Kevin Starr leaves nothing out. Here are the shifting politics and populations, the burgeoning shipyards and aircraft factories, the movies, the novels--the whole culture of this excitingsociety in profound transition. How does he focus so much detail into such a lively, driving narrative?" --Stephen Fender, Research Professor of American Studies, University of Sussex
"The 1940s, that decade of wars both hot and cold, changed California morethan any other era in history. Kevin Starr leaves nothing out. Here are theshifting politics and populations, the burgeoning shipyards and aircraftfactories, the movies, the novels--the whole culture of this exciting society inprofound transition. How does he focus so much detail into such a lively,driving narrative?" --Stephen Fender, Research Professor of American Studies,University of Sussex
"The scope of Starr's scholarship is breathtaking; this is a social, economic, political, and cultural history that covers such disparate subjects as popular San Francisco restaurants, shipbuilding, changes in domestic architecture, Raymond Chandler's fiction, the roots of anti-Japanesesentiment, baseball's Pacific Coast League, and the rise of Richard Nixon."--Ben Schwarz, Atlantic Monthly
"The scope of Starr's scholarship is breathtaking; this is a social,economic, political, and cultural history that covers such disparate subjects aspopular San Francisco restaurants, shipbuilding, changes in domesticarchitecture, Raymond Chandler's fiction, the roots of anti-Japanese sentiment,baseball's Pacific Coast League, and the rise of Richard Nixon."--Ben Schwarz,Atlantic Monthly
"The scope of Starr's scholarship is breathtaking; this is a social, economic, political, and cultural history that covers such disparate subjects as popular San Francisco restaurants, shipbuilding, changes in domestic architecture, Raymond Chandler's fiction, the roots of anti-Japanese sentiment, baseball's Pacific Coast League, and the rise of Richard Nixon."--Ben Schwarz, Atlantic Monthly "This is ebullient, nuanced, interdisciplinary history of the grandest kind, drawing parallels and distinctions where perhaps no one ever thought to see them before. Starr's a born storyteller as well, mining a rich seam of anecdotal coal to animate the complex, enigmatic figures California history bustles with.... Starr is an undervalued and irreplaceable public treasure."--David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle "For ambition, narrative drive and breadth of research across the disciplines from culture through politics and demography to agronomy and water management, no recent project of American historical writing comes close to Kevin Starr's mammoth, multi-volume "Americans and the California Dream".... It is a magnificent accomplishment.... Starr's project all along has been at least as concerned with the California of the imagination as with the California of fact and has assumed that realities do begin in dreams.... Starr is at least as good a narrator of nightmares as he is of the beauties, successes or accomplishments of the California experience."--David Rieff, Los Angeles Times Book Review "An exciting picture of how California changed during World War II, yet remained irrepressibly the same. Kevin Starr has captured the whole cockeyed chiaroscuro, with a novelist's eye for the telling detail, and a historian's grasp of the sweep of grand events. From the Hollywood Canteen to the Black Dahlia mystery, from the plight of the Okies and the Japanese to the gargantuan military buildup and the Golden State's bone-deep frivolity, he's got it all down. I was there, and I know. I read the book with absorbed admiration." --Herman Wouk, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Caine Mutiny and The Winds of War "Kevin Starr is an absolutely wonderful writer, passionate, learned, born, as they said of Samuel Johnson, to wrestle with whole libraries. In Embattled Dreams , he has surpassed himself. This is his best book yet." --Max Byrd, author and Professor of English, UC Davis "No one knows the shadows and light of the California Dream better than Kevin Starr. World war and political repression brought darkness to the dream, but Starr reminds us of what makes California compelling, as the home of American heartbreak and American promise." --Virginia Scharff, Director, Center for the Southwest, University of New Mexico "California, in all its mythical splendor and promise, is in fact America stripped naked of myth. That is why Kevin Starr, who knows and recites California's epic better than anyone, must be judged one of America's finest living historians. Read all six of his volumes and lose your dreams...in dreams." --Walter A. McDougall, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for The Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age "The 1940s, that decade of wars both hot and cold, changed California more than any other era in history. Kevin Starr leaves nothing out. Here are the shifting politics and populations, the burgeoning shipyards and aircraft factories, the movies, the novels--the whole culture of this exciting society in profound transition. How does he focus so much detail into such a lively, driving narrative?" --Stephen Fender, Research Professor of American Studies, University of Sussex
"The scope of Starr's scholarship is breathtaking; this is a social, economic, political, and cultural history that covers such disparate subjects as popular San Francisco restaurants, shipbuilding, changes in domestic architecture, Raymond Chandler's fiction, the roots of anti-Japanese sentiment, baseball's Pacific Coast League, and the rise of Richard Nixon."--Ben Schwarz,Atlantic Monthly "This is ebullient, nuanced, interdisciplinary history of the grandest kind, drawing parallels and distinctions where perhaps no one ever thought to see them before. Starr's a born storyteller as well, mining a rich seam of anecdotal coal to animate the complex, enigmatic figures California history bustles with.... Starr is an undervalued and irreplaceable public treasure."--David Kipen,San Francisco Chronicle "For ambition, narrative drive and breadth of research across the disciplines from culture through politics and demography to agronomy and water management, no recent project of American historical writing comes close to Kevin Starr's mammoth, multi-volume "Americans and the California Dream".... It is a magnificent accomplishment.... Starr's project all along has been at least as concerned with the California of the imagination as with the California of fact and has assumed that realities do begin in dreams.... Starr is at least as good a narrator of nightmares as he is of the beauties, successes or accomplishments of the California experience."--David Rieff,Los Angeles Times Book Review "An exciting picture of how California changed during World War II, yet remained irrepressibly the same. Kevin Starr has captured the whole cockeyed chiaroscuro, with a novelist's eye for the telling detail, and a historian's grasp of the sweep of grand events. From the Hollywood Canteen to the Black Dahlia mystery, from the plight of the Okies and the Japanese to the gargantuan military buildup and the Golden State's bone-deep frivolity, he's got it all down. I was there, and I know. I read the book with absorbed admiration." --Herman Wouk, Pulitzer Prize winning author ofThe CaineMutinyandThe Winds of War "Kevin Starr is an absolutely wonderful writer, passionate, learned, born, as they said of Samuel Johnson, to wrestle with whole libraries. InEmbattled Dreams, he has surpassed himself. This is his best book yet." --Max Byrd, author and Professor of English, UC Davis "No one knows the shadows and light of the California Dream better than Kevin Starr. World war and political repression brought darkness to the dream, but Starr reminds us of what makes California compelling, as the home of American heartbreak and American promise." --Virginia Scharff, Director, Center for the Southwest, University of New Mexico "California, in all its mythical splendor and promise, is in fact America stripped naked of myth. That is why Kevin Starr, who knows and recites California's epic better than anyone, must be judged one of America's finest living historians. Read all six of his volumes and lose your dreams...in dreams." --Walter A. McDougall, winner of the Pulitzer Prize forThe Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age "The 1940s, that decade of wars both hot and cold, changed California more than any other era in history. Kevin Starr leaves nothing out. Here are the shifting politics and populations, the burgeoning shipyards and aircraft factories, the movies, the novels--the whole culture of this exciting society in profound transition. How does he focus so much detail into such a lively, driving narrative?" --Stephen Fender, Research Professor of American Studies, University of Sussex
"This is ebullient, nuanced, interdisciplinary history of the grandest kind, drawing parallels and distinctions where perhaps no one ever thought to see them before. Starr's a born storyteller as well, mining a rich seam of anecdotal coal to animate the complex, enigmatic figures Californiahistory bustles with.... Starr is an undervalued and irreplaceable public treasure."--David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle
"This is ebullient, nuanced, interdisciplinary history of the grandestkind, drawing parallels and distinctions where perhaps no one ever thought tosee them before. Starr's a born storyteller as well, mining a rich seam ofanecdotal coal to animate the complex, enigmatic figures California historybustles with.... Starr is an undervalued and irreplaceable publictreasure."--David Kipen, San Francisco Chronicle
This item was reviewed in:
Los Angeles Times, April 2002
Publishers Weekly, April 2002
San Francisco Chronicle, May 2002
Choice, January 2003
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
This volume deals with the years of World War II and after. In the 1940s California changed from a regional centre into the dominant economic, social and cultural force it has been in America ever since.
Long Description
A narrative tour de force that combines wide-ranging scholarship with captivating prose, Kevin Starr's acclaimed multi-volume Americans and the California Dream is an unparalleled work of cultural history. Now, in Embattled Dreams, the sixth volume in this monumental work, Starr looks at 1940s California, the war years and their aftermath. California in the years surrounding World War II was a time of sweeping change, drama and intrigue, heroism and tragedy, a decade that saw the emergence of a new, more powerful role for California in the nation. Starr captures this exciting era with his unique vision and masterful prose. He describes the vast expansion of the war industry and California's role as "arsenal of democracy" (especially the significant part women played in the aviation industry). He examines the politics of the state: Earl Warren as the dominant political figure, the anti-communist movement and "red baiting," and the early career of Richard Nixon. He also looks at culture, ranging from Hollywood, to the counterculture with Henry Miller at Big Sur, to film noir and the fiction of Raymond Chandler. And he illuminates the harassment of Japanese immigrants and the shameful treatment of other minorities, especially Hispanics and blacks. Philadelphia Inquirer hailed Starr as "the foremost chronicler of that often fabulous region, imposing upon the dramatic elements of California history a novelist's imagination and a cosmopolitan and sophisticated intelligence." In Embattled Dreams, Starr provides an unforgettable portrait of California, a spell-binding account of the state as it transformed itself from a regional power to the dominant economic, social, and cultural force in the nation.
Main Description
A narrative tour de force that combines wide-ranging scholarship with captivating prose, Kevin Starr's acclaimed multi-volume Americans and the California Dream is an unparalleled work of cultural history. Now, in Embattled Dreams, the sixth volume in this monumental work, Starr looks at 1940sCalifornia, the war years and their aftermath. California in the years surrounding World War II was a time of sweeping change, drama and intrigue, heroism and tragedy, a decade that saw the emergence of a new, more powerful role for California in the nation. Starr captures this exciting era with his unique vision and masterful prose. Hedescribes the vast expansion of the war industry and California's role as "arsenal of democracy" (especially the significant part women played in the aviation industry). He examines the politics of the state: Earl Warren as the dominant political figure, the anti-communist movement and "redbaiting," and the early career of Richard Nixon. He also looks at culture, ranging from Hollywood, to the counterculture with Henry Miller at Big Sur, to film noir and the fiction of Raymond Chandler. And he illuminates the harassment of Japanese immigrants and the shameful treatment of otherminorities, especially Hispanics and blacks. Philadelphia Inquirer hailed Starr as "the foremost chronicler of that often fabulous region, imposing upon the dramatic elements of California history a novelist's imagination and a cosmopolitan and sophisticated intelligence." In Embattled Dreams, Starr provides an unforgettable portrait ofCalifornia, a spell-binding account of the state as it transformed itself from a regional power to the dominant economic, social, and cultural force in the nation.
Main Description
A narrative tour de force that combines wide-ranging scholarship with captivating prose, Kevin Starr's acclaimed multi-volume Americans and the California Dream is an unparalleled work of cultural history. Now, in Embattled Dreams , the sixth volume in this monumental work, Starr looks at 1940s California, the war years and their aftermath. California in the years surrounding World War II was a time of sweeping change, drama and intrigue, heroism and tragedy, a decade that saw the emergence of a new, more powerful role for California in the nation. Starr captures this exciting era with his unique vision and masterful prose. He describes the vast expansion of the war industry and California's role as "arsenal of democracy" (especially the significant part women played in the aviation industry). He examines the politics of the state: Earl Warren as the dominant political figure, the anti-communist movement and "red baiting," and the early career of Richard Nixon. He also looks at culture, ranging from Hollywood, to the counterculture with Henry Miller at Big Sur, to film noir and the fiction of Raymond Chandler. And he illuminates the harassment of Japanese immigrants and the shameful treatment of other minorities, especially Hispanics and blacks. Philadelphia Inquirer hailed Starr as "the foremost chronicler of that often fabulous region, imposing upon the dramatic elements of California history a novelist's imagination and a cosmopolitan and sophisticated intelligence." In Embattled Dreams , Starr provides an unforgettable portrait of California, a spell-binding account of the state as it transformed itself from a regional power to the dominant economic, social, and cultural force in the nation.
Main Description
A narrative tour de force that combines wide-ranging scholarship with captivating prose, Kevin Starr's acclaimed multi-volumeAmericans and the California Dreamis an unparalleled work of cultural history. Now, inEmbattled Dreams, the sixth volume in this monumental work, Starr looks at 1940s California, the war years and their aftermath. California in the years surrounding World War II was a time of sweeping change, drama and intrigue, heroism and tragedy, a decade that saw the emergence of a new, more powerful role for California in the nation. Starr captures this exciting era with his unique vision and masterful prose. He describes the vast expansion of the war industry and California's role as "arsenal of democracy" (especially the significant part women played in the aviation industry). He examines the politics of the state: Earl Warren as the dominant political figure, the anti-communist movement and "red baiting," and the early career of Richard Nixon. He also looks at culture, ranging from Hollywood, to the counterculture with Henry Miller at Big Sur, to film noir and the fiction of Raymond Chandler. And he illuminates the harassment of Japanese immigrants and the shameful treatment of other minorities, especially Hispanics and blacks. Philadelphia Inquirerhailed Starr as "the foremost chronicler of that often fabulous region, imposing upon the dramatic elements of California history a novelist's imagination and a cosmopolitan and sophisticated intelligence." InEmbattled Dreams, Starr provides an unforgettable portrait of California, a spell-binding account of the state as it transformed itself from a regional power to the dominant economic, social, and cultural force in the nation.
Publisher Fact Sheet
A Look At The effect that WWII had upon California: the brutal treatment of Japanese residents & other minorities, huge growth of war industry, Hollywood, & Nixon.
Table of Contents
1940 A Matter of Life or Deathp. 3
1941 Shelling Santa Barbarap. 34
1942 Garrison Statep. 66
1943 Zoot Suitp. 96
1944 Swing Shiftp. 123
1945 Hollywood Canteenp. 159
1946 Homecomingp. 183
1947 Black Dahliap. 213
1948 Honey Bearp. 241
1949 Mexicali Rosep. 281
1950 Police Actionp. 308
Notesp. 340
Bibliographical Essayp. 346
Acknowledgmentsp. 365
Indexp. 367
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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